After years of battling depression and denying his sexuality, Ian Thorpe has apparently finally found love.
On Sunday, Valentine’s Day, The Daily Telegraph reported the five-time Olympic gold medallist, 33, is in a ‘great relationship’ with model and law student Ryan Channing, 26.
A close friend of the pair confirmed the coupling, enthusing: ‘While it is early days in relationship terms, they are smitten with one another.’
New man! The Daily Telegraph reported on Sunday the five-time Olympic gold medallist, 33, is in a ‘great relationship’ with model and law student Ryan Channing, 26
The anonymous source also added the two have been ‘inseparable’ and as they go ‘out in public together and meeting one another’s friends, they seem really happy.’
Ryan, who originally hails from Perth, has reportedly been calling the Olympian his boyfriend to his friends.
Since talking openly about his sexuality, the elite former athlete has said he struggled, as much as anyone does, in the dating pool.
‘It’s an absolute mess out there! I’m like, “Where are all the normal people?”,’ he told Sunday Style in November.
Joined at the hip: The anonymous source also added that the two have been ‘inseparable’ since meeting
Going public? The couple have reportedly been meeting each other’s friends and are ‘really happy’
‘I’ve never really dated, so I’ve come in being almost completely blindsided by this.’
As Australia’s most successful Olympian, Ian achieved fame at the tender age of 15 and has been in the public’s eye ever since.
In his 2012 autobiography, This Is Me, the athlete revealed he was suffering ‘crippling depression’, and had considered suicide.
Hunky: Ryan is a model and law student who originally hails from Perth, and reportedly openly refers to Ian as his boyfriend to friends
He attributed his wanting to deny his sexuality to the fact that he was hounded about it from a young age and that it was done in an almost accusatory manner.
‘That was the problem,’ he said. ‘I was asked when I was far too young and then my response was “I’m not”.’
In the famed interview with one of the world’s most respected media personalities, Michael Parkinson, the towering sportsman finally opened up about his sexuality in July 2014.
Legendary: Ian is Australia’s most successful Olympian, winning five gold medals
‘You’ve always said that you’re not gay. Is all of that true?’ Michael Parkinson asked.
‘I’ve thought about this for a long time,’ Ian said.
‘I’m not straight. And this is only something that very recently – in the past two weeks – I’ve been comfortable telling the closest people around me exactly that.’
Ian was recently announced as a panelist for the Sydney Mardi Gras 2016 film festival, his first official appearance at an LGBTI event since coming out.
‘I’m not straight’: Ian came out during a TV interview in 2014